1. Why do you think it’s important for retail garden centers to use outdoor shade structures?

KH: There are a couple of very good reasons to use shade structures. Plant material looks much better when it gets some relief from the intense sun, and customers spend more time in your garden center when they are more comfortable. Both of these advantages translate in decreased loss and increased sales.

2. What should retailers know before investing in outdoor shade solutions?

KH: Shade structures provide shade. Obviously, that is the primary reason to have them. But elements that are as large as shade structures have a great impact on the character of a retail space. Think about aesthetics. You want a structure that enhances the overall shopping experience. When you are selling beautiful things, it makes sense to present them in the most inspiring environment.

3. What are the advantages of movable outdoor shade units vs. fixed installations?

KH: The ability to create large shaded areas without committing to a permanent arrangement is a huge advantage. With movable shade structures, you can keep display areas dynamic and interesting for the returning customer. You can also rearrange areas for different seasonal uses. Using several separate structures may be best to create distinct merchandising units. However, grouping them together for a special event may be desirable. The corner of a parking lot can be used as retail space during peak months and then cleared away for the remainder of the year.

4. How can retailers effectively combine shade structures and signage to enhance the shopping experience?

KH: Signage and graphics programs are becoming increasingly more important in the outdoor retail environment. Shade structures are a perfect vehicle to extend those programs. Signs, securely mounted to shade structures, not only help to organize the garden center, but can really aid in merchandising your product.

5. What accessories and complementary products does Haiku Shade offer to maximize shade structure effectiveness?

KH: At Haiku Shade, we have developed hanging basket hardware, sign hardware, post-mounted benching, seasonal lighting solutions and integrated irrigation packages for our shade structures.

For more information: www.haikushade.com